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Simplification and generalization of large scale data for roads : a comparison of two filtering algorithms

Visvalingam, Mahes; Visvalingam, Maheswari; Williamson, Peter J.


Mahes Visvalingam

Maheswari Visvalingam

Peter J. Williamson


This paper reports the results of an in-depth study which investigated two algorithms for line simplification and caricatural generalization (namely, those developed by Douglas and Peucker, and Visvalingam, respectively) in the context of a wider program of research on scale-free mapping. The use of large-scale data for man-designed objects, such as roads, has led to a better understanding of the properties of these algorithms and of their value within the spectrum of scale-free mapping. The Douglas-Peucker algorithm is better at minimal simplification. The large-scale data for roads makes it apparent that Visvalingam's technique is not only capable of removing entire scale-related features, but that it does so in a manner which preserves the shape of retained features. This technique offers some prospects for the construction of scale-free databases since it offers some scope for achieving balanced generalizations of an entire map, consisting of several complex lines. The results also suggest that it may be easier to formulate concepts and strategies for automatic segmentation of in-line features using large-scale road data and Visvalingam's algorithm. In addition, the abstraction of center lines may be facilitated by the inclusion of additional filtering rules with Visvalingam's algorithm.


Visvalingam, M., & Williamson, P. J. (1995). Simplification and generalization of large scale data for roads : a comparison of two filtering algorithms. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 22(4), 264-275.

Online Publication Date Mar 14, 2013
Publication Date Oct 1, 1995
Deposit Date Aug 10, 2016
Publicly Available Date Aug 10, 2016
Journal Cartography and geographic information systems
Print ISSN 1523-0406
Electronic ISSN 1545-0465
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 4
Pages 264-275
Keywords Line simplification, Line generalization, Roads, Large scales
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©1995 Informa Group plc
Additional Information This is a copy of an article published in Cartography and geographic information systems, 1995, v.22 issue 4. It is reproduced under the kind permission of Taylor and Francis.


Mahes Article - CGIS 1995.pdf (1.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
©1995 Informa Group plc

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